AMHERST, Mass. — As part of a 20th anniversary celebration of the UMass men’s basketball 1995-96 Final Four team, the Massachusetts Athletics Department announced Wednesday plans to retire a jersey in honor of John Calipari during the 2015-16 season. The retired jersey will be hung in the Mullins Center alongside UMass’ five other retired jerseys: George “Trigger” Burke (32), Julius “Dr.
The official date of the jersey retirement ceremony and other information surrounding next year’s 20th anniversary celebration will be announced at a later date.
One of the most successful coaches in NCAA basketball history, Calipari’s long-lasting impact on the University of Massachusetts is known nationally and across generations. He began his head coaching career at UMass where he turned the Minutemen into a national powerhouse from 1988-1996.
In addition to the 1995-96’s team’s 35-2 record and the Final Four appearance, Calipari led the Minutemen to the 1991-92 NCAA Sweet 16, the 1992-93 and 1993-94 NCAA Second Round and the 1994-95 NCAA Elite 8. UMass won five consecutive Atlantic 10 titles during that span as well.
Calipari was inducted into the UMass Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004 and was announced this past February as one of 12 finalists for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2015.
In his 23 years as a head coach, “Coach Cal” has guided five teams to the Final Four and is one of just two coaches in college basketball history to do so with three different schools. He led Kentucky to the 2012 NCAA Championship title and a runner-up finish last season.
With more than 600 career wins as a head coach, the start for Calipari began in the Curry Hicks Cage. While his first season as a head coach saw the Minutemen post a 10-18 record, UMass reached postseason play in each of the next seven years culminating in the 1995-96 Final Four. All told, he finished his career at UMass with a record of 193-71 which stands as the second-best win total in program history behind the legendary Jack Leaman.